The Illinois Senate passed the Inclusive Curriculum Billlegislation calling for the inclusion of LGBT-related historical events and contributions in state classroomson May 2.
The Senate passed the bill 34-18, with two Republican legislators crossing the aisle to vote in its favor. The legislation, whose chief sponsor is state Senator Heather Steans, D-Chicago, now heads for the state House, where advocates hope to see a vote before the end of the current session on May 31.
Supporters of the LGBT-rights advocacy Equality Illinois, which has been pushing for the bill alongside organizations including Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and the Legacy Project, lobbied for the bill at the Illinois Statehouse on its April 11 "lobby day."
Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson told Windy City Times later that week that, "We're just trying to write that law so that all Illinois kids, regardless of their sexual identity, will get an understanding that LGBTQ people have always been part of history and have always been part of making our current society the great place that it is."
Illinois would be the second state in the union, after California, to have an LGBT-inclusive curriculum if the legislation is passed.
From an Equality Illinois news release:
ILLINOIS SENATE PASSES LGBTQ INCLUSIVE CURRICULUM BILL
House to take up measure that helps all students have fuller understanding of history
SPRINGFIELDOn a bipartisan roll call, the Illinois Senate passed the Inclusive Curriculum Bill on Wednesday, sending the measure calling for the inclusion of historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people to the state House.
The Senate voted 34-18 for the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, SB 3249, sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, with two Republicans joining 32 Democrats in support of the bill.
The bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education and a broad coalition of statewide and local educational, civil rights, health, and civic organizations who hope to see a vote in the House before the end of the spring legislative session on May 31. The House sponsor is state Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin.
An LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can have a positive effect on students' self-image and make their peers more accepting, and it would get Illinois closer to being a state that tells the whole story of our shared history. The teaching of history has been set a little too straight. LGBTQ identities have been erased by omission. Now, it is time for our public schools in Illinois to tell the whole story.
The Illinois School Code already ensures inclusion in history curriculum of the contributions and experiences of other historically marginalized communities, including of people of color, women, immigrant communities, and people with disabilities, so SB 3249 is consistent with current state law.
Since there is currently no requirement to include the roles and contributions of LGBTQ people in the Illinois School Code, the historical representation of LGBTQ people, events, and contributions is not discussed in most classrooms across the state.
Some examples: The nation's first gay rights organization, the Society for Human Rights, was formed in 1924 in Chicago. Illinoisan Jane Addams, the mother of social work, founder of the Hull House, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was in a committed 40-year relationship with her partner, Mary Rozet Smith. The organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, was a gay man. And Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, was a lesbian.
Here is a complete list of the organizations that support the LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill:
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
The Legacy Project
ACLU of Illinois
African-American Lesbian Professionals Having A Say (Quad Cities)
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital
Asian-Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago
Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago
Broadway Youth Center, a Program of Howard Brown Health
Central Illinois Pride Health Center
Chicago Gay Men's Chorus
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights
Chicago Teachers Union
Howard Brown Health Center
Illinois Association of School Social Workers
Illinois Federation of Teachers
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Illinois School Counselor Association
Illinois State Board of Education
Legal Council for Health Justice
National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter
PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois
Phoenix Center (Springfield)
Planned Parenthood of Illinois
Prairie Pride Coalition (Bloomington-Normal)
Pride Action Tank
Rainbow Cafe (Carbondale)
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 881